Wednesday, 16 August 2006


Dominating the New Zealand news bulletins throughout the day has been the death of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen. Dame Te Atairangikaahu was an iconic figure, heir to a protest movement that attempted to unite the tribes of Aotearoa in the face of growing European dominance in the 1850s. Tributes have flowed today from all sections of society. She was a remarkable woman, raised in near poverty, preferring to avoid the limelight but a passionate advocate for her people.

But what strikes me as noteworthy is the way her succession will be decided. The next Arikinui will be chosen by representatives of the tribes she served.

Contrast the leaders of Armstrongism. Here the succession is soley in the hands of the reigning tyrant. Herb chose Ted - even going as far as anointing his bonce with oil, Old Testament-style. Until, of course, Ted proved unsuitable and the senile Apostle spun the bottle and finally ended up with Joe Tkach Sr. (the Holy Spirit seems to have been having a nap at the time.) Then Joe Sr. conducted an extensive search for the best qualif... oops, not quite. Joe declared Joe Jr. the next Pastor General for no apparent reason other than sheer, unadulterated nepotism.

The very first editorial I ever wrote for the old AW was on King Joe and his presidential pretensions: the church leader with no mandate, the power to play god, and neither the intention nor the wit to change things for the better. Even today, despite an ocean of cloying prattle to the contrary, Papa Joe reigns without a credible system of checks or balances in evidence. Should this spiritual giant fall under a bus tomorrow (or more likely, be hit by a lethal rogue golf ball) it seems the dumb sheep will once again simply be told who to suck up to next. Some reformation!

Perhaps the Pastor General, sitting in his plush, high-backed presidential chair in Glendora, along with the team of yes-men that surround him, could learn a little from events happening half a world away this week.


ES_Gardner said...


Part of the problem is, the Association bylaws of the WCG have never been made public, so we do not know the current rules and exact procedures to be followed in the event the irreplaceable lifetime Pastor General Tkach suddenly needs to be replaced....

Anonymous said...

The xCGites are allowed to vote -- but only with their feet.

xbeliever said...

Gavin, are you endorsing "demon-ocracy"?

jorgheinz said...

Aue, Aue!! The mighty totara has fallen.Ariki-Nui will be laid to rest with her forefathers on the summit of sacred Taupiri mountain.

The sucession will be determined after much korero (talk), in a spirit of amicability,governed by well-established rules of protocol.

No arrogance or nepotism here.


Neotherm said...

It is not sufficient to say "I dont like Joe Tkach, therefore the way he was selected is flawed." These are questions of church government. And there is a bewildering variety of church governments and methods of selecting leaders and successors. Some of them are autocratic and some democratic. Like Woody Allen said, if people are guided by love, most any form of government will work. My corollary is that if people are not guided by love, no form of government will work.


es_gardner said...

Even the next pope is elected by the College of Cardinals, not appointed by his father.

The WCG has not disclosed the secret text of its unincorporated church Association bylaws as to how the next PG will be selected under various possible future circumstances.

These secret, morally objectionable bylaws created by Dr. Armstrong are more reminscent of an unprincipled cult, or secret fraternal order such as the Order of Skull and Bones, than a Church of Jesus Christ.

NB said...

Regarding Neotherm's comment. I'd much rather live under even a mediocre democracy than an excellent dictatorship. Freedom has value in itself. Read Paul and see the value he put on Christian freedom. No Christian freedom without the power to exercise it. Joe could be a great guy, but his leadership will always be flawed while he follows the non-participatory, no accountability model.


Jared Olar said...

"But what strikes me as noteworthy is the way her succession will be decided. The next Arikinui will be chosen by representatives of the tribes she served."

For the record, the next Arikinui has been chosen by the representatives of the tribes. They chose the late Queen's son.